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I often wonder what it would have been like to be on Emmaus Road with Jesus after his resurrection. While two men were walking and talking together, Jesus just showed up. He began to talk to them, and Luke eventually ended up saying, "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." Jesus is exegeting the Old Testament, and the interpretive key is Himself. What did He say to them? Where can we find Jesus in the Old Testament? These are questions that I ask myself. Thankfully, these are questions that Nancy Guthrie has not only asked but also spent time studying. The fruit of this study is her Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible Studies. The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books is her second book in the series. In this edition, Guthrie takes the readers through the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
How the book is formatted
The book itself is intended to be a 10 week Bible study that can be used in personal or group settings. Each week, Guthrie invites the reader into a time of personal Bible study, a teaching chapter, a looking forward segment and finally a discussion guide. I enjoyed this format. In the personal Bible study section, Guthrie usually introduced the reader to the genre of the book along with some key themes and passages. This section is very interactive and really sets up the remaining sections to come. In the teaching section, Guthrie provides insight in a practical and Christ-centered way. I can remember numerous times reading the teaching on Job, Psalms, or Proverbs and asking myself how I never saw that before. At the end of the teaching section is the looking forward section. In this section, Guthrie leads the reader in a short reflection showing how the ideas in that chapter point forward to Christ. Lastly, the discussion guide helps further examine the teaching as well as apply it. There is also a "Getting How It Fits into the Big Picture" question. I really enjoyed thinking through this question. It encourages the reader to think through how the teaching in Proverbs fits in with the larger redemptive story line of Scripture. The format of this study is great.
A couple of things I really enjoyed
I deeply enjoyed the aim of this book. Nancy Writes, "Over the coming weeks, as we make our way through the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament, we'll not only find wise principles for living life in this world as one who belongs to God but we'll also see the wise person these books point to, the wisest person who ever lived, hidden in its drama and poetry and proverb and song" (pg. 24). Seriously, that statement alone gets me excited to dive into the Wisdom of literature. It is easy for me to look for wise principles while reading the Wisdom literature without ever slowing down to look for the wisdom of God, namely Jesus. I can imagine that this task was no easy one. Thus, I love that Guthrie undertook and, in my opinion, fulfilled this approach and aim.
The teaching in the book is great. It is relevant, practical and Christ-centered. Not only is Christ displayed in each book, but also the heart of the book itself is not neglected. What I mean is, the main theme of Ecclesiastes is not dismissed so that she can show you Jesus. No, Guthrie takes you to the heart of Ecclesiastes and shows you how Jesus is the one who brings it all together or makes sense of it all. I was thankful to not only learn more about Jesus, but to learn more about the themes and literature of the wisdom books. Bible studies can be extremely difficult to craft in a way were they remain both theologically faithful and applicable to life. There is a tendency to over emphasize one or the other. Yet, Nancy was able combine a practical and relevant approach while remaining Christo-centric.
Perhaps the greatest compliment that I can give to this book is the passion that it stirred up in me for the Old Testament. I know that the Old Testament is able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15). However, it seems so difficult to see this sometimes. Thus, I am thankful for the passion ignited by this book to search the Old Testament in a relevant, applicable, and Christ-centered way. Nancy Guthrie's passion has certainly helped fuel my passion for the Old Testament and the Wisdom Literature.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to learn more about Christ from the Old Testament. Whether you are male or female, in a group or alone, you will profit from reading this book. You will not only find "wise principles", you will also see "the wise person." This book/Bible study is excellent.
I received this book free from Crossway Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.